Look, Ma, a recurring segment!
Here There Be (Mild) Spoilers: Quick reminder that these posts look at some of the common trends and threads in the currently streaming anime that I’m watching (full list is on the sidebar). I keep things vague but if you’re a plot purist, you may want to skim past.
This week’s roundup of winners and losers below the jump.
Mentors (Baby Steps, Mushi-shi, Ping Pong, The World is Still Beautiful, Yowamushi Pedal)
This week a group of captains, coaches, nomads, and grandmas took center stage and dropped some Very Good Advice on a group of young ‘uns in need of guidance. Most of the time the kids heeded the lesson, but even when they didn’t (Ping Pong), their reasons for doing so proved that their mentor had helped them to grow – even if, like Ginkgo, they’d only been around for one episode.
Peco, Imaizumi, and Nike are nearing the end of a story arc, and it’s good to know they’ve got people who care about them watching their backs – and shaking them from their funks – when they need it most.
Manly Tears (Baby Steps, One Week Friends, Ping Pong, Haikyuu!!)
Sports anime pretty much always have the waterworks ready to go (especially when you get closer to the end of the season), but we saw a wide range of manly tears this week, from the frustrated to the joyful to the downright heartbreaking.
This may seem like a strange thing to put in the “win” column, but it’s an element of anime that I really like – unlike in a lot of American media, where the “manly” thing is to hide your feelings, anime guys often wear their hearts on their sleeves for all kinds of reasons, and are very rarely mocked for it (if anything, it’s often a way to make the character sympathetic or even admirable). Three cheers for feelings, you guys!
HEAD! GAMES! (Baby Steps, Chaika the Coffin Princess, Haikyuu!!, One Week Friends, Yowamushi Pedal)
And I can’t take it anymore! ♪
Boy, there were a lot of mental blocks to get over this week. In the world of sports anime, Ei-chan and Hinata both got down on themselves, and Midousuji did his very best to melt Shinkai into a puddle of trauma and energy bars. Elsewhere, Kaori’s memory retention has taken a giant leap backwards, and poor Akari has a sorcerer literally messing with her mind.
Most of these were resolved by the end of the episode, but for those that weren’t… well, I’m STILL putting this in the “loss” column, because that brainwashing thing is NOT COOL and they better fix Akari right the eff now because HOW CAN SHE SAY HILARIOUS THINGS IF SHE’S BEEN HYPNOTIZED?! Grumble grumble.
Childhood (More Than) Friends (Chaika the Coffin Princess, One Week Friends, The World is Still Beautiful)
The osananajimi (childhood friends) were out in full force this week, and the ones with a romantic past (one-sided or otherwise) did not have a nice time of it. You can refer to my rant above about Akari, for starters, but then we’ve also got Hajime, storming onto our nice, lovely little One Week Friends and being an absolute jerkoff to our nice, lovely little protagonists, to the point where I may have been yelling “Punch him in the mouth, Hase! Right in his smug little mouth!” at my TV. Possibly. Maybe. ¬_¬
And while I can’t guarantee that Dude Brooding in Shadows on TWiSB is an old playmate carrying a torch, I’m well-versed enough in the Laws of Shoujo that I’d be willing to put money on it. We’ll see how this plays out next week, but I’m already calling it: This guy is not gonna come out on top in ANY sense of the phrase.
All Tied Up
Flotation! (Chaika the Coffin Princess, Haikyuu!!, Mushi-shi, The World is Still Beautiful)
There really were a startling number of Things That Floated this week, from fishing boats to ships to fortresses to volleyball jump serves. One spelled the end of a match, one sank to the bottom of the sea (and then his troubles REALLY began), one is about to have all Hell break lose in AND around it, and the other…
Well, the other let Nike and Livi have an adorable star-gazing bonding moment. So maybe flotation devices aren’t so terrifying after all.